Who is he: As president of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao overseas the world's largest reserves, $2.65 trillion, $1.5 trillion of which are in US holdings. Hu Jintao can divert rivers, jail dissidents, build cities and censor the Internet without being criticized by the same sort of pesky bureaucrats that disrupt the political process in the Western world. He exercises dictatorial control over more than 1.3 billion people and orchestrates the world's second largest economy.
Hu Jintao is also the leader of the world's largest army. He is not swayed by US policy and does not relent when it comes to controlling the exchange rate of his national currency. The leader was hand picked for the job and has some impressive credentials that help him function effectively.
In 2002, Hu Jintao became the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and in 2003 was named President of the People's Republic of China. In 2004, he became Chairman of the Central Military Commission succeeding Jiang Zemin as the top leader of the Communist Party of China.
Background: Hu Jintao was born in Taizhou in 1942. His family was in the tea business but were considered poor. Hu Jintao was a gifted student and he loved to sing and dance. He attended Tsinghua University in 1964 and almost immediately joined the Communist Party of China. Hu Jintao eventually became president of the Student Union before the Cultural Revolution. In 1965, Hu Jintaograduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering and began working on the construction of the Liujiaxia Hydroelectric Station. He also managed party affairs for the local branch of the Ministry of Water Resources and Electrical Power.
Hu Jintao worked for Sinohydro Engineering Bureau as an engineer from 1969 to 1974. In 1973, he was transferred to the Construction Department of Gansu as secretary and the next year was promoted to senior chief. In 1980, the "Four Transformation" program was implemented by Deng Xiaoping, a program was designed to produce younger, more specialized and more knowledgeable communist leaders. The Gansu governor discovered Hu Jintao and promoted him up the ranks to deputy head of the commission.
In 1982, Hu Jintao was promoted to secretary of the Communist Youth League Gansu Branch and was also appointed director of the All-China Youth Federation. He was invited to Beijing to study at the Central Party School that year, and within a few months he was transferred to Beijing and became the secretariat of the Communist Youth League Central Committee ("CY Central"). He became the leader of CY Central two years later.
In 1985, Hu Jintao was transferred to Guizhou as provincial Committee Secretary of Communist Party of China, and in 1988 was transferred to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and became Party Regional Committee Secretary. Hu Jintao also took command as Political Commissar of the local People's Liberation Arm units. Tibetans opposed Chinese government policy in the region so unrest and minor clashes between local Tibetans and the Chinese happened frequently. When Hu Jintao arrived, the unrest intensified and in 1989 he responded by deploying 1,700 armed police into Lhasa region. His intent was to prevent more conflict, but the opposite occurred and the police were accused of killing defenseless locals. Beijing declared martial law and the area was completely locked down by the Chinese military. Hu Jintao was accused of using unnecessary brutal force against the Tibetans, but his actions earned him unprecedented attention in the upper circles of the party, and especially with the leader, Deng Xiaoping.
In 1992, at the 14th National Congress of the CPC Hu Jintao, at the age of fifty, became the youngest member of the Politburo Standing Committee and the second youngest member of the Politburo Standing Committee. In 1993, Hu Jintao was named Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, which controlled the day-to-day operations of the Central Committee and the Central Party School. In 1998, Hu Jintao became Vice President of China and in 1999, he was China's leading voice during the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.